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Immortal Treasures: Japanese Handscrolls from the Spencer Collection


January 18th, 2002 - March 2nd, 2002
From May 1998 through May 2000, eight of The New York Public Library's treasured 16th- and 17th-century Japanese scrolls received conservation treatment in studios in the Tokyo National Museum and the Kyoto National Museum as part of a program sponsored by The Tokyo National Research Institute of Cultural Properties. The scrolls are among the greatest treasures of the Library's Spencer Collection and include: a late 16th-century (late Muromachi to Momoyama period) version of the Sanjurokkasen Emaki (Handscroll of the Thirty-six Immortal Poets), the earliest known fully intact scroll of the Fujifusa type, with thirty-six meticulously painted, imaginary portraits of the most highly esteemed men and women poets of the Heian period (794-1185); a single scroll from the acclaimed mid-17th century, twelve-volume set of the Taiheiki Emaki (Handscroll of the Chronicle of Great Peace), attributed to the well-known painter Kaiho Yusetsu (1598-1677), with episodes depicted from the classic 14th-century military epic, the Taiheiki Monogatari; and six miniature scrolls of the Hakubyu Genji Monogatari Emaki ("White Drawing" Handscrolls of the Tale of Genji), the earliest illustrated, dated (1554, Muromachi period) version of the Tale of Genji, signed by Keifukuin Gyokuei, an aristocratic amateur woman painter from Kyoto.